Posts tagged ‘EPA’

December 4, 2015, 4:42 pm

The Increasingly Complicated Question of ‘Repair or Replace’


Frequently the same question comes up in all projects: Repair or replace? A recent article in ArchitectureBoston took the stance that repair is almost always the better choice: “Extending the service life of any object avoids the environmental impact of replacing it.” Previously, the average decision-maker has considered factors like cost, performance and aesthetics – not sustainability. As sustainability gets added to the list now, it seems the ‘repair or replace’ question will only get more complicated.

Still, it will be easy to provide guidance sometimes. Repairing a defunct HVAC system is insufficient, and defunct can take a lot of forms – as suggested by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s guidelines on when to replace. Sometimes it is challenging to provide guidance, though. If an old system is inefficient and requires intensive maintenance, replacement may not be absolutely necessary, but it’s a chance to upgrade technologies while solving issues. It is hard to deny the importance of salvaging when possible, but it is perhaps harder to deny the importance of comfort and energy performance.

As customers broach this topic, perhaps the best response is to get them thinking about what role HVAC plays in their project, and how important each decision factor is to them. As ACH&R News discovered when interviewing contractors on the matter, there’s no right answer to ‘repair or replace’. There’s just a worthwhile conversation.

Written by MitsubishiHVAC
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June 4, 2015, 3:47 pm

Guest Blogger: Paul Doppel

Paul Doppel is our senior director of industry and government relations. He works closely with AHRI, the DOE and other government organizations, utility companies as well as green building groups to enhance HVAC technology education and applications.

June 4_Guest Blogger - Paul Doppel - IGR Update ImageDear Readers,

We’ve seen an unprecedented amount of regulatory action over the past few years. The demand for actions that support a sustainable future grows stronger every day. HVACR regulations are constantly undergoing revisions as a result. It’s paramount to stay informed in order to keep up with these demands, and part of my job is to help.

For starters, see a rundown on what’s happening on Capitol Hill below.

  • The House Subcommittee on Energy and Power has raised concerns with the EPA’s rulemaking, which targets certain refrigerants as greenhouse gases and prohibits their use in many applications, including product-development costs and the risk in using unproven, alternative compounds.
  • ASHRAE 188P is close to becoming a published standard. It requires a commercial building to have a water management program with Legionella control measures if it has:
    • A device that releases droplets into the air (think cooling towers, evaporative condensers, spas, fountains, misters and humidifiers).
    • Multiple housing units with a centralized hot water system.
    • More than 10 stories.
    • A majority of the occupants over 65 years of age.
    • Patients who stay more than 24 hours.
    • Patients at a greater risk of contracting Legionnaire’s disease.
  • President Obama signed the Energy Efficiency Improvement Act of 2016, which is projected to yield roughly $4.6 billion in annual energy savings by 2030. The Act includes four budget-neutral provisions:
    • Commercial building owners and tenants are to align interests to reduce energy consumption.
    • Certain electric resistance thermal storage water heaters are exempted from pending DOE regulation.
    • Federal agencies must develop an implementation strategy for the maintenance, purchase and use of energy-saving technologies.
    • Federally leased buildings without ENERGY STAR labels must disclose their energy usage data.
  • Two bills have been referred to the Senate for voting:
    • Bill HR 636 will revise Section 179 to make the $500,000 allowance for expensing depreciable business property permanent. It will also add HVAC equipment to the definition of qualified property.
    • Bill HR 185 will require a thorough analysis of any new proposed regulations, including a cost-benefit analysis and increased public participation.

Questions? Thoughts? Please leave them in a comment below.

Written by MitsubishiHVAC
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November 4, 2013, 4:07 pm

Don’t Wait Until It’s Too Late to Get Your 179D Tax Break

2013 isn’t the only thing that’s coming to an end on December 31 – the 179D Tax Deduction (179D) will be too, at least for now. In a recent article in Forbes,179D Tax Break for Energy Efficient Buildings – Update,” writer Dean Zerbe informs readers on the little-known, lucrative opportunity for building professionals that may be ending soon.

According to the Tax Analytics Group, only 10% of qualifying projects utilize 179D, also known as the Energy Policy Act (EPAct), which was enacted in 2006 by the Internal Revenue Service to provide incentives to make buildings more energy efficient. Currently, architects, engineers, contractors and building owners can receive tax deductions of up to $1.80 per square foot for the construction or improvement of energy efficient commercial buildings. Any commercial building from warehouses and parking garages to schools and university dormitories can be considered. Zerbe notes, however, that for the “economics to make sense, the building should be greater than 50,000-square-feet.”

Better yet, architects, engineers and contractors can receive partial or full deductions for constructions they’ve worked on within the last three years and building owners can go back in the past six. The tax deduction amount is determined by the following requirements:

  • Building must surpass 2001 ASHRAE Standards. Good news is that with today’s stricter building code requirements, most states already require this.
  • To achieve the maximum $1.80 tax deduction, the building’s energy and power costs must be reduced by at least 50 percent when compared to conventional like-buildings.
  • Partial tax deductions of $0.60 or $1.20 per square foot can be given for the building envelope, HVAC/hot water systems and interior lighting systems individually. To receive partial deductions, the building envelope must be 10 percent more efficient than standard constructions and both HVAC/hot water and lighting must reach a 20 percent improvement.

As Zerbe bluntly says, “179D is a commonsense, technologically neutral way of encouraging energy efficiency.” And, above all, it is an effective means for businesses and building professionals to receive thousands of dollars in savings. So, while the option is still on the table, submit your old energy efficient projects and speed up this year’s plans to create new ones.

Click here to read the full Forbes article. To find out if your energy efficient buildings qualify for the tax deduction, visit the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy website.

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